Shruti Aggarwal

The Cross Roads


I did not know the exact time .Through the blinds, the play of orange and dark hues had ceased .I had to get up from the bed to switch on the lights .I wanted to switch on the computer too, knowing fully well that there was more than an hour left for the list to come out and if the load shedding [power shut down to save electricity] begins, then anyway I would have to wait for couple of hours more.

The three bedroom apartment in western New Delhi was filled with smoke and smelled of fried fish as I had forgotten to switch on the exhaust fan and most probably I did not even salt the fish , when I fried it

I knew , I needed to be more mindful but I think the lack of sleep was causing it .Srikant , my husband ,anyway, is used to taking calls all throughout the night . He is a busy practicing pediatrician

Today was the day .My residency match list would be declared .Being an International Medical graduate, it took me forever to reach this stage of getting into United States Residency Program .I should have been on the top of the world , but here I am a total mess

The doorbell rang. I was looking for my slippers and I stumbled against the electricity and the computer wires. The bell rang two more times. That was so unlike Srikant . He is the calmest and composed person I have ever met. Inspire of his busy practice and back breaking toil , he has never lost his cool .

"So, how was your day?"

He looked very tired

"It was ok".He did not face me while answering .He had an open refrigerator door in the kitchen He kept some of the vaccines there

"Is the list out"

"No , there is still time ."

I rushed back to the kitchen to put out the stove.

Srikant was more or less settled in his Pediatrics practice .He had worked day and night without complaining. We were very well provided for with lots of home help. I had no interfering in-laws, which is a part of prevailing joint family system of India .He encouraged me with my hobbies .He could manage to buy this three bedroom apartment in the high end of the city and I was so proud of him.

I had no reason not to be happy

"Should I set the table?

We always had our dinner together

"You carry on .I am not hungry”

I could hear the side door close. He had already left for his outpatient practice of the evening

I held back my tears. It was so hot and humid in the living room .It was so uncomfortable

Suddenly, I was very angry with myself.

What did I want from life?

Anybody would give anything to be at my place .A loving loyal husband, a comfortable independent carefree life!

Why was I willing to put everything at stake for an unknown future?

We were both straight A students since our school days .Cracking the state led competitive exams were never difficult .When we met in our medical school, we were so sure in our minds that marriage was the right choice

Marriage was based on love and not a business proposition as some times happen in India .Families were just informed. Over all it worked out well

I was just swept off my feet by his honesty, gentleness, caring nature and his dedication to his profession.

My residency in India was a forced choice Women physicians in the Northern part of the country fare well only when you have a MD in OBGyn .

The training in Government hospitals partially kill you with superhuman workload poor infrastructure, chronic stress and inadequate sleep.

When you are in your own practice, nothing gets better and you are on call 24x7, 365 days a year.

I could not take it anymore.

I wanted to pursue a non-surgical line .I had cleared all my residency exams for US residency, but we never seemed to find a middle path. We would always hit a wall in whatever manner we tried to negotiate it .His practice was his baby

My phone rang;

“Don’t worry; I will be there for dinner.

Srikant had called

Suddenly, there was a gust of wind and the window panes opened .

I smiled to myself and went to set the table















All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Shruti Aggarwal.
Published on on 06/10/2019.


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